BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — A St. Mary Parish woman can never work as a tax preparer again after pleading guilty to multiple fraud charges, according to the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR).

Dawanna Monay Monroe, of Patterson, was arrested in 2020 for a tax fraud scheme in which she allegedly faked business losses for companies that didn’t exist. Monroe pleaded guilty to charges of filing false public records and illegal transmission of monetary funds, litigators with LDR sued her to prevent her from working as a tax preparer in the state.

“A consent judgment signed Dec. 20, 2021, prohibits Monroe from filing, assisting in, or directing the preparation of any Louisiana tax return but her own,” stated a press release from LDR today.

Monroe is the seventh person barred from working as a tax preparer in the state since Act 526 of the 2018 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature authorized the Department of Revenue to file lawsuits against preparers who commit fraud.

Tips for choosing a reputable preparer

As taxpayers start filing their 2021 tax returns, it is important to be selective when hiring a paid preparer. Taxpayers are legally responsible for the information on their returns even if someone else prepares them.

Tips for working with a paid tax preparer:

  • Make sure the Louisiana Department of Revenue and/or the IRS have not prohibited them from preparing tax returns
  • Ask a prospective tax preparer for professional references
  • Conduct a background check with the Better Business Bureau, the state licensing board for CPAs, or the state bar association for attorneys
  • Find out if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires continuing education and holds its members accountable to a code of ethics
  • Select a preparer you are confident will be available to answer questions after your return is filed
  • Avoid preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the amount of your refund
  • Review your return and ask questions about anything you don’t understand before signing it
  • NEVER SIGN A BLANK TAX RETURN

If you suspect that a tax preparer is preparing fraudulent returns, call the LDR Criminal Investigation Division’s Tax Fraud Hotline at 866-940-7053. For more information, visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/TaxFraud.